Fil-Am historians, activists gather in New York
NEW YORK CITY – Opening in true Broadway style with stage actress Jaygee Macapugay (“School of Rock”) singing “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) 16th Biennial Conference welcomed more than 700 history buffs from across the nation, including Texas, Alaska and Hawaii.
With the theme “A Pinoy State of Mind – Building with Our Roots” the conference held June 22-25 on the John Jay College of Criminal Law campus featured plenary sessions that included Jose Antonio Vargas (Pulitzer Prize winner and founder of EmergingUS), Broadway stars, recent Fil-Am authors, LGBTQ activists as well as community leaders, teachers and historians.
Dorothy Cordova, founder and executive director of FANHS, said, “I feel really blessed right now because all these young people are coming up to me and are saying ‘Thank You!’ Who would have thought FANHS would grow so big?”
In addition, attendees were treated to a NYC Fil-Am history bus tour, an ethnic showcase fashion show, a film festival (coordinated by Emmy-award filmmaker Marissa Aroy) and closing Gala dinner-river cruise featuring speaker transgender model Geena Rocero, founder of Gender Proud ,and music by the legendary Joe Bataan, “King of Latin Sou.l”
Professor Emily Lawsin, a trustee of FANHS who has attended all 16 FANHS conferences, said: “This one was the best. Coordinators all upheld our founding mission and embraced our FANHS practice of intergenerational, multiracial, multifaceted and multitalented programs and took it all to a new level.
More than 60 workshop and panel topics ranged from “Understanding Sexuality with Filipino-Catholic Roots” to “Browns Acting Green: Pin@ys in the Climate Movement” and “From Community Murals to Poetry to Storytelling: Filipino American history expressed through Multiple Means.”
Dr. Anthony Ocampo, author of Filipinos: The Latinos of Asia, enthused, “Magic. That’s the only word that can capture what I felt these past 72 hours.”
Much credit goes to the New York FANHS Chapter and conference coordinator Dr. Kevin Nadal for the success of the event. Principal sponsors included the City University of New York – Diversity Development Fund, AARP, National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA), Honey Smith, and Gran Oriente Filipino. The next FANHS Conference is planned for 2018 in Chicago.
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